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Are inmates treated like animals, asks wife of deceased

 | February 28, 2017

Klang MP Charles Santiago says police and doctors at Hospital Kuala Kubu Baru should be held liable for the custodial death of Thanaseelan Muniandy.

Charles-Santiago-jailPETALING JAYA: Do the police treat inmates like some animals? That is the question a DAP MP repeated in a statement in the case of Thanaseelan Muniandy, who died while in police custody on Saturday.

Charles Santiago said when he visited the Sungai Buloh hospital to provide support to the family of the deceased, Thanaseelan’s wife said: “The police treat people as birds, cats and cows. But for us they are our loved ones. And today, they have taken a life… my husband’s.”

The Klang MP used this as a basis to suggest that even though Thanaseelan had died from a medical condition – septicaemia due to suppurative peritonitis as a result of a perforated gastric ulcer – ultimately this is yet another death in police custody.

“Barely three weeks after Balamurugan Suppiah made the news, this is another case of custodial death,” Santiago said, referring to the case of Balamurugan who was arrested by the police on Feb 6 and was found dead at the North Klang district police headquarters on Feb 8.

“According to the pathologist, Thanaseelan would have suffered acute pain as there was so much pus in his stomach. Unfortunately, the police did not respond to Thanaseelan’s emergency. He wasn’t taken to the hospital immediately despite his condition,” Santiago said.

He added that the pathologist said the deceased would have exhibited visible signs of pain and physical distress, besides being unable to eat.

“Yet the police didn’t see it fit to rush him to the hospital. Once again, the police have shirked their responsibility and duty as the deceased was in their custody,” Santiago said, deriding the police for also lying to the family, claiming Thanaseelan was ill when he had already passed away.

Thanaseelan-Muniandy

Even the Hospital Kuala Kubu Baru came under the microscope from Santiago, who questioned the medical staff who attended to Thanaseelan.

“He was brought to the hospital hours before he was pronounced dead in the early hours of Feb 25. Why wasn’t Thanaseelan admitted into the ward when he was clearly in a critical condition?

“Why did the doctor send him back to prison after allegedly prescribing antacid for gastric?” Santiago said, adding that the hospital and doctors are also culpable in Thanaseelan’s death.

The DAP man even speculated that the only reason the doctors did not give Thanaseelan due attention was because he was a convict.

“This is outrageous as doctors need to discharge their duties professionally, with the same respect and level of care to all patients.

“Clearly police complacency and medical negligence by doctors have contributed to Thanaseelan’s death,” Santiago said, demanding the police officers and doctors who were handling Thanaseelan’s case be suspended and a thorough and impartial investigation be carried out.

Thanaseelan, 43, had been locked-up at the Bukit Sentosa police station in Hulu Selangor since last Wednesday and was sent for treatment at the hospital on Friday.

He was found unconscious in his cell at 1.50am on Saturday. An ambulance was summoned but medical personnel pronounced him dead.

According to Hulu Selangor district police chief Supt R Supramaniam, Thanaseelan had been held under remand over a number of house break-ins.

 

Deaths under custody ‘entirely preventable’, say lawyers

Break-in suspect dies in lock-up


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